Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Reality of International Travel for Work

This is what my desk looks like. I remember my first opportunity to travel for work. I was still living in Maine and in my salon working on clients when I got a call from my friend Lysa. She was getting ready to travel to Amsterdam, Holland for a beauty show and found out she was one educator short for the event. Being that I had a passport and flexible schedule I offered to help. The downside was, I had to leave NOW. So in a hurry I handed my appointment book to my sister Janis, to call all my clients for that day and those that followed as I ran home to power pack.

I was on an international flight that night. Because the flight was booked the only available seat was in first class. Now first class on international is quite different than national flights. Your seat is like a baby basinet . It could be layed out flat to sleep while the hood gave you some privacy. They also give you several course meals and call you "Miss Watson" for everything.

The trip was a success and I loved every minute of it. I'll always thank my lucky stars for the path my career has taken.... however.... here's the reality. Now, when I travel, it's usually anywhere from 4-7 days. A typical trip consists of two countries.

Day 1 Travel day. For anyone that does not do this on a regular basis, this day really stinks. This is where I collect lots of mystery bruises as I am constantly tossing luggage around. Once you are through security and in your seat on the plane, you have a bit of a sigh of relief. Typically, we get in to our rooms either super early in the morning and goto our customers office. Or late at night.

Day 2 or day of travel. Business meeting at our customer's office, educator training, which continues into a dinner where, hopefully, I don't fall asleep in my soup due to the time difference.

Day 3 is the Day we conduct our seminar. This usually is from 9-5 and winds up ending in another dinner.

Day 3 or 4 is travel to the next country and ends the day with office meeting, educator time and dinner. Again, not falling asleep in my dinner is a big accomplishment. Part of the job is pushing back the exhaustion and giving our customers our full attention.

Day 5 another Seminar.

Day 6 Travel day which results in arriving home on day 7. On one of my most recent trips, traveling home from Romania through London took a total of 28 hours!

Does this sound fun? Note the lack of time for being a tourist. Most of my images of foreign countries are shot from my hotel room window or a moving car to our next destination. I will never forget a comment our Rep in England (Stuart or as I affectionately call him, Stewie) made when I asked if we'd have time to see some of Romania. I've always wanted to travel there and hoped to see Dracula's castle. "You will have just enough time to blow your nose and take a wee." Don't you just love the English? Wee! I said I would forgo blowing my nose.

Lastly, while we are gone, there are no elves that come to do all the work that is waiting for our return. It just piles up. The picture I chose for today's blog is exactly how I feel about my desk right now. I can scarcely type without getting Post It notes stuck to my arms. I have 200 emails in my inbox to return and a Nail Art line to manage.

And you know what? I wouldn't change it for all the tea in China.

(happy to be writing from Valencia, CA today)

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